Sunday, October 29, 2006

Why our brain remembers...?: Part 1

Memory is something intriguing; thinking is something intriguing as well; but dreaming...? What is that? We are not the only animals that dream or are capable of dreaming. Even dogs dream. But we don't really pay attention to that.

Sigmund Freud was the first to do a systematic study on dreams. He captured his case studies in his book called "Interpretation of Dreams". But people disregarded his conclusion as pseudo-scientific. I think he was able to tell why people dreamed; why they see the images they dream of in vivid detail; but his conclusions were unsatisfactory. Now let us take a look at dreams.

Why do you dream?

The most logical answer I can give is that the brain is active. But this level of activity is not the same as that of when we are awake. Sleep is another thing that I don't have a good knowledge. But sleep is something physiological. It induces stress on our muscles which in turn communicates to the brain to stop all activities. How does this communication happen? The first thing that would probably come through your mind is the nervous system. But the nervous system does only that. How do you think our eyes shut. The eye muscles are far apart from the thigh muscles (assuming you have walked a lot, and then you feel like sleeping).

The brain can communicate this information to the eye muscles through a system called neuro-transmitters. In short some chemical messengers that either dulls or aggravates the activity of that muscle. Neurotransmitters are extensively used when we think of the functioning of the heart. Because in case of an immediate threat the brain signals the heart to pump faster because you have to flee from danger.

But what is the brain actually? A house packed with neurons. Millions and millions of them. Even more staggering are the connections one neuron has with other neurons. There are at least 5000 connection for a single neuron. But how is information processed in the brain? What is the output of this processing? Here is where I need to get philosophical.

Why is a red cube, red in colour? Why red is just a colour! We see it as red and call it so because that how we have done for centuries. Everybody knows that red colour is "red". How would you prove this fact? You see a some colours and you are asked to pick the colour red, you will definitely pick it out and say "this is red". But how do we define what is red?

We see colour because of light rays falling into the retina. What is special about a red colour light ray is that it has a particular wave length and frequency. The cones that populate on the inside of our retina is sensitive enough to decipher these signals. But then again what is the output? The colour red? No. It's a thought. It is an emotion. The brain is familiar with this colour...I guess the output is an emotion.

Emotion, what you are familiar with is about expressions or something that deals with it. When we get excited with an idea, excitement is the emotion. So why not when we see a colour we experience emotion? I am deliberately re-inventing vocabulary here. Try thinking, "or else how do you explain what the red colour actually is...?".

In the later parts I will make the distinction clear!

Why our brain remembers things...? : Introduction

I wish to discuss the topic about memory. Because there is something in why we remember things! My conclusions are not ideally scientific deductions. They are again an anthology of my researches, and logical thinking. Meaning to say when I know something for fact then it is more or less scientific; else it is something derived logically.

Here science and logic are my only friends. Therefore my views are not something that will appeal to everyone. And thus I wish to tell my readers: don't blindly believe whatever I say without confirming it.

And to this, I must still add, that although I want to be known the world of science as a scientist, I am a philosopher.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The brain...

Lately I've decided to delve the realms of the human mind. Thinking is what I am thinking about these days. Because thinking is what I do mostly. What interests me is the fact that how I am able to conclude on certain issues just by thinking. However I find it difficult to put it down rationally at this moment.

All I have is the knowledge that the brain is composed of millions of neurons so intricately networked to respond to many things - stimuli. Thinking, on the other hand is something that is initiated within our selves. I wouldn't say that thinking is a sort of stimulus or a conaequence of it, but I cannot confirm that however as of my current status.

Lately I've been wondering what the term brainwaves stood for...and my wikipedia research narrowed me down to encephalogical activities that takes place in the brain. It just that when we respond to something our brain activity kicks up. Neurons fire and this propogates like a wave to specific regions in the brain

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The abyss...

The search for life it seems has opened up a chasm; an abyss that cannot be sealed. I guess this is why most scientists have stopped research in this area. The reason: it more or less corrobates the same fact -

Life is a big coincidence

Its a long story to tell actually. You need to know how the earth was a million years ago; how life sign started showing up; and how they resulted into newer ones. The story goes on. Its like an endless saga. However I found the facts interesting. But I don't think a normal person can digest the facts, so well. Try this wikipedia page for a start. Click here. Its a long article, but take time to understand it.

Now that the fact that life has no explicit purpose is evident (or thats what we can conclude from the current scenario of investigations) we live as if there is some purpose. Why? The answer to this question can only come if we are keen on learning the details about our past.

I feel as if there is a whole ocean I have yet to swim through.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Yahoo answers!!! The place where I can get answers for my questions. I only require that people think about my questions for themselves and then give feedback.

Lately I've asked a rather intriging question over at yahoo. Its that whenever someone puts up the idea of a class tour I don't get that much excited about it. Because I know that girls will also be coming. Bringing them is a lot of headache. (Accommodation before late night, what rides to take women to and what not). Ultimately there is a feeling that you could not enjoy the way you've wanted to.

It was this emotion that I wanted to question. Why boys enjoy trips when there are only boys around? There were diffferent answers, but I liked the one that said something about boys wanting to be perfect in front of women, or more precisely a person appearing perfect in front of his/her opposite sex. I guess this is probably a work of natural selection that not all of us are usually aware of.

Suppose you are this open kind of person. You belong to a group of friends who are mainly boys. Suddenly you see this sexy girl! You spill it out in front of your friends, right? Now suppose you change the scene: you (being male) are hanging out with a couple of women. There are no other boys in this group. And then you see a sexy lady, what would you do? Tell the girls?! You might; but that depends upon your degree of relationship with them or how open you are in front of them. But the probability you would spill it in front of your boy-friends is more than the opposite case!

If you (the reader) happens to be female, try thinking about a similiar situation and you'll end up with the same conclusion.

I am more interested in the psychology behind all this. What is it that we try to achieve or gain through this irrational yet unaviodable emotion?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A curiosity list

There are so many things I am curious about. But I find that I really don't have time to find answers for them. I believe answering these questions can "upgrade" our perspective of life or may be put us in a position to better face it. I realise that there are some glitches in my way of thinking; but that does not put me off. I simply believe the wrong way of thinking like I am doing now or today might hopefully turn out or somehow transform into a the right way of thinking. However I am not implying that my way of thinking will be successful in the end. I am implying that my way of thinking might evolve gradually. But I really wish I had some user input.

Well, I might jot down whatever I am curious about this moment. All these areas are in itself a separate branch of study: -
1. The brain: the human brain is an amazing organ. Why I am curious about the brain is because studying how the brain responds to stimuli, and how it evolved into the shape it is now might give us insight into our mode of thinking. It might also give us an answer to why other animals that have brains have not been able to adapt quite well.
2. Reproduction: for now reproduction is almost like a riddle. Why is reproduction important? For now I have a hunch that some aspect of brain development is linked with this phenomenon. It could give us an answer to a lot of things related to how human societies formed, and may even give out logical reasons why they had formed this way.
3. The evolutionary life of a cell: You should probably look at things micro-level. Even cells have defence mechanisms. Which means that even they respond to a stimulus similar to the one that causes fear in us. But how did they evolve? It might give us a clear picture of what fear is and how it influenced our evolution and to what extent.
4. Sadness: whenever something bad happens we feel sad. But why do we feel that way. What is going on inside our brain? What is the significance of such a reaction that takes place inside our head? There must be an evolutionary reason for it. But how should you begin to explain it? This is the most perplexing of all the above.

What are the odds that you or someone else has already answered these questions? What are the odds that someone from the past has already answered these questions? Frankly I don't know. But if you could give me the name of that person, then probably you could give me an account of what he or she has answered! Although I feel miserably alone, I am actually not alone. How many people are out there who has thought of the same things I have? It is possible even they are trying to communicate somehow but still can't find each other!